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The regulation of merchant fees in credit card markets

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  • Hongru Tan

    () (School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper provides a theory on how to regulate the level of merchant fees in credit card markets. In particular, we discuss how to regulate the merchant fee in a closed payment system with heterogeneous merchants. We find that tourist test is not a valid approach. Our model suggests that the regulation should be based on costs of networks or banks and market elasticity. Moreover, we provide an alternative understanding on how to regulate the interchange fee in an open payment system. The initial public offerings of Visa and MasterCard do not merely change themselves from not-for-profit associations to for profit companies, but also change the mechanism in determining the fee level and structure borne by end users. These changes in industry urge an updated understanding of the optimality of interchange fees.

Suggested Citation

  • Hongru Tan, 2020. "The regulation of merchant fees in credit card markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 258-276, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:57:y:2020:i:3:d:10.1007_s11149-020-09406-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-020-09406-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Julian Wright, 2012. "Why payment card fees are biased against retailers," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(4), pages 761-780, December.
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    7. Reisinger, Markus & Zenger, Hans, 2019. "Interchange fee regulation and service investments," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 40-77.
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    12. Baxter, William F, 1983. "Bank Interchange of Transactional Paper: Legal and Economic Perspectives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 541-588, October.
    13. Dennis W. Carlton & Ralph A. Winter, 2018. "Vertical Most-Favored-Nation Restraints and Credit Card No-Surcharge Rules," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61(2), pages 215-251.
    14. Aurazo Jose & Vasquez Jose, 2019. "Merchant Card Acceptance: An Extension of the Tourist Test for Developing Countries," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(2), pages 109-139, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hongru Tan & Zhongqi Deng, 2020. "The no‐surcharge rule and surcharging behaviours in credit card markets," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 358-375, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Merchant fees; Closed payment system; Regulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods

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